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Otto Nagel - Berlin urban landscapes, portraits and documents

Otto Nagel, Selbstbildnis vor leerer Staffelei, um 1936, Öl auf Leinen, Akademie der Künste18 March to 7 September 2008

The exhibition in the Mitte Museum shows portraits from all creative periods of the Berlin painter and honorary citizen Otto Nagel (1894 - 1967), among them the famous "Self-portrait in front of an empty easel", as well as a selection of his urban landscapes. Nagel’s paintings of Berlin provide a unique view of the city destroyed by the war and the demolition policy of the post-war era. The works of art presented come from the art collection of the Akademie, the stock of the Mitte Museum, the artist's estate and from private lenders.
The documentary part of the exhibition acknowledges Otto Nagel's work as the President of the Deutsche Akademie der Künste (German Academy of Arts) in the years 1956 to 1962.
Otto Nagel is presented as the initiator of key Academy exhibitions in the 1950s, presenting works by such artists as Käthe Kollwitz, Heinrich Zille and Otto Dix. His efforts to maintain a good relationship with artists from the Federal Republic and from abroad are appreciated as are his attempts to establish a good working relationship with the West Berlin Academy by means of contacts between members and employees. The exhibition documents Nagel's relationship to the students of his master class and shows him as having been a committed advocate for the preservation of historic buildings. Finally, letters and excerpts from various records provide evidence of the early dismissal of Nagel from his position as the President of the Academy following the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

An exhibition of the Mitte Museum in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste and the Freundeskreis Otto Nagel e.V. (Friends of Otto Nagel Association)

Exhibition location: Mitte Museum am Festungsgraben, Am Festungsgraben 1, D-10117 Berlin

Welcome speech:
Kerstin Sittner-Hinz, Head of the Mitte Museum, and Michael Krejsa, Head of the Archive for Visual Arts of the Akademie der Künste
Beatrice Vierneisel (art historian): Otto Nagel and the Akademie der Künste
Wolfgang Unterzaucher reads autobiographical texts by Otto Nagel
Ulrich Kempendorff, saxophone, and Ronny Graupe, guitar

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